Which Laws Were Abolished at the Cross?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Were the ceremonial or moral laws done away with at the cross? What exactly did Christ abolish on the cross? Let’s take a look at God’s Word to see.

The ten commandments were written with God’s own hand.

So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. Deuteronomy 4:13 NKJV

The ten commandments were placed inside the ark.

And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. Exodus 25:16 NKJV

The commandments last forever.

The works of His hands are verity and justice;
All His precepts are sure.  They stand fast forever and ever,
And are done in truth and uprightness. Psalm 111:7-8 NKJV

The ceremonial law was written in Moses’ handwriting and was placed in the side of the ark while we have seen the Ten Commandments were written by God and placed inside the ark.

So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished,  that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying: Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you;  Deuteronomy 31:24-26 NKJV

The ceremonial laws written by Moses lasted only until the reformation.

concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. Hebrews 9:10 NKJV

It was ordinances that were handwritten by Moses that were done away with at the cross. The ceremonial laws like the feast Sabbath days like the Passover, which pointed towards the cross no longer served a purpose after the cross. The weekly Sabbath in the ten commandments was instituted before the law was ever given (Genesis 2:1-3) and continued throughout the New Testament by Jews and Greeks alike (Acts 18:4) and will continue in the new earth. (Isaiah 66:23)

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Colossians 2:14-17 NKJV

Note: the requirements that were against them was the record of their rebellion we saw in Deuteronomy 31:24-26. The Ten commandments were not against them. They were there for their blessing and protection. See Psalm 19 and 119.

The sacrificial system ceased at the cross. The ten commandments never ceased.

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.” Daniel 9:27 NKJV

In the new testament commandment keeping continues.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:9-10 NKJV

He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  1 John 2:4 NKJV

The ten commandments convict us of sin after the cross just like before.

but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.  For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:9-12 NKJV

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4NKJV

Jesus did not die to do away with the law. He died so we could be obedient and live righteously.

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,  teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, Titus 2:11-12 NKJV

Those who keep the commandments by God’s grace will inherit eternal life.

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14 NKJV

Summary and conclusion: The handwritten ordinances and sacrificial systems that pointed towards the cross were no longer needed after the cross. The Ten commandments were not handwritten by Moses but by God and do not point towards the cross. The ten commandments endure for all eternity.

Why Kindergarten is a Part of Your College Degree

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The podcast version of this article is available here.

As this week’s lesson emphasizes the importance of the law in our education I am reminded of what Jesus said regarding the principle of the entire law.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31 NLT

Many are familiar with the phrase, ‘All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten.” This phrase came from Robert Fulghum’s book, with the same title as the phrase. The main idea is that in kindergarten one learns simple hygiene practices as well as the importance of a nap every afternoon.  Sounds great, right? Fulghum goes on to explain how kindergarten taught him not to take things that did not belong to him and how to share what he had. In short, kindergarten taught him to be fair and considerate of others needs and rights. Of course since the book came out, kindergarten has progressed to be more like first grade when I was starting school way back in the mid 1900’s. Still, kindergarten teaches  basic citizenship skills about how to get along with others. How to be responsible in cleaning up your own mess as well as being considerate and helpful to others. I believe Jesus would sum all these kindergarten lessons up with “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

After kindergarten many of us went on to “greater” things. We learned algebra and geometry.  Some of us went on to learn calculous (well I surely didn’t but some of us did.) We learned science and chemistry and biology. Yet in all of our learning we were never to forget what we learned in kindergarten. While doing algebra and geometry it is still important o know that 1+1=2. Yes we go on to much greater things than we could ever have imagined in kindergarten but we must never forget 1+1=2. When a math major receives her college degree certificate at Harvard, what she learned in kindergarten about 1+1=2 is a substance and the foundation of the degree that she now proudly hangs on her office wall.

Do you know what else is a substance of our greater education? the things we learned in kindergarten about treating others fairly and honestly. Doing for others what we would want them to do for us. Jesus told us this is the foundation of the law. Therefore if the law is the foundation of our education then doing for others what we would want them to do for us must be the foundation of our education. No matter how far you go in math 1+1 will always equal 2. That fundamental law will always stay with you. No matter how far you go in life climbing the corporate ladder “do for others what you would like them to do for you” will always be a fundamental law in your education and career.

When you walk off the platform at Andrews University or Avondale or Newbold, or any other university with your college degree you do not get to throw away your kindergarten education. Your kindergarten education is a fundamental part of your college education. It doesn’t go away. If you ever forget that 1+1=2 your math degree will become useless. If you ever forget to treat others the way you would want to be treated then your entire education becomes meaningless.

The law is the foundation of our education. Do for others what you would like them to do for you is the foundation of the law. Therefore do for others what you would like them to do for you is the foundation of education.

I can’t really say all I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten, but I can honestly say I will always need all I learned in kindergarten.

Obedience is the Only Acceptable Expression of Respect

I am writing tonight from my beautiful hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NLT

When I tell one of my students at school to clean the dry erase board he does not come up to me several minutes later saying, “I memorized what you told me to do.” Memorizing is not the goal. Obedience is the goal. This is why I find this week’s Sabbath School lesson so crucial as it stresses the importance of not only understanding or even memorizing the Bible but actually doing what it says. I know people who show great respect for the Bible by not placing anything on top of it or by not setting it on the ground, treating it much the way we do our nation’s flag. This is commendable, but I believe and I’m sure you do too, that the greatest way to show respect for God’s Word is to do what it says. Otherwise not stacking things on top of the Bible or not letting it touch the ground is meaningless if we are not doing what it says. After all what traitor could stand before a judge and say, “Sure I traded military secrets to the enemy but I never let the flag touch the ground.” Treating the flag with respect is meaningless if we are betraying the nation it represents.

Today when writing even a pronoun for God like “He” and “Him” we capitalize the pronouns referring to God out of respect. However you may have already noticed that in the Bible the pronouns for God are not capitalized. What gives? Did the Bible translators have no respect for God and His holiness? No, they had great respect for God, but they realized that the best way to show respect for God is to do what He says, and not just simply write His name with capital letters. After all, writing pronouns referring to God with capital letters is quite hallow if we are not exhibiting the greatest form of respect which is obedience. 

After all, nowhere in Scripture does it tell us not stack anything on top of the Bible or make sure we write pronouns referring to God with capital letters. Nowhere in Scripture are we told the importance of merely memorizing Scripture if we are not prepared to actually  do what it says. In Luke 10 a lawyer engages Jesus in a theological discussion regarding the law and salvation. Jesus commends the lawyer for his theory on theology. But even as Jesus commends his theory as being theologically correct He also lets him know more than head knowledge and theory is required. 

Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” Luke 10:28 NLT 

Jesus was not satisfied with theological head knowledge. Jesus wanted the lawyer to do what the law says. Jesus then illustrates His point with the story of the good Samaritan, who practiced loving his neighbor. The Samaritan was doing in the story what the lawyer was only talking about. At the end of the story Jesus reiterates the importance of doing what the law says instead of just studying and memorizing the law. 

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” Luke 10:37 NLT 

A few years ago I was a part of a discussion where someone was saying that we don’t need to obey the health and temperance principles in the Bible. We only need to call upon the name of the Lord and we will be saved. He referenced Romans 10:13. I agreed that Romans 10:13 does indeed say those who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved, but we can’t call Jesus “Lord” if we are not obeying Him. Matthew 7:21-23 makes it clear that we are calling on the name of the Lord in vain if we are not obeying His laws. After all obedience is the result of salvation. 

 Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. Philippians 2:12 NLT 

When Jesus was at the wedding party with His mother, and they ran out of wine, His mother told the servants something extremely simple but equally  profound.

“Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5 NLT 

Many years ago I was the guest speaker at a church where a family had just lost a child. The pastor explained to me that they would take up an offering for the family to help with funeral expenses and assured me they would still take up the customary offering to cover my expenses traveling to their church. When the plea was made for the family’s offering someone testified how poor the family was. I perceived the Holy Spirit nudging me to tell the pastor sitting on the platform with me to collect all of the money for the family  and not to take up an offering for me. I sat there a few moments considering what I felt the Holy Spirit telling me. Did I have the money to pay for this trip myself? Then I perceived the Holy Spirit speaking to my conscience again, “What is there to think about or consider? I just told you what to do!” I then leaned over and whispered in the pastor’s ear to forget about my offering and give it all to the family. I never missed the money I would have received that day. More importantly I did what I knew God was telling me to do. 

It was not enough for me to know what God was telling me to do. It was not enough for me to memorize what God was telling me to do. The minimum God was requiring of me was to actually do what He was telling me to do. So it is with studying God’s Word. It is not enough to study. It is not enough to understand. It is not enough to memorize. We must obey the Word of God. 

Video-What Role Does the Bible Play in a World Where Everyone Does Whatever Seems Right in Their Own Eyes?

For a written transcript click here.

The Scriptures In Light Of The Cross- With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides- NLT here.

Listen to a podcast of this presentation here. 

The Scriptures

 

Brief overview: The Scriptures are inspired by God to lead us into a relationship with Him that will give us eternal salvation in heaven and a prosperous life here on earth. See 2 Timothy 3:15-16John 20:31.

Why it is important to know the truth about the Scriptures: 

Years ago I lived on a ranch helping out occasionally with the horses. The ranch had a very nice swimming pool just up the road from the mobile home where I lived. One evening I invited a family to go swimming. As we walked back on that road towards my home it was dark and a big juicy spider had made a web between the trees on each side of the road. Fortunately we had a flashlight that exposed the spider right before we walked into it. The children were terrified of the spider and walked around the trees to avoid this “monster.” When we returned to the house, I shared with the family Psalms 119:105, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I shared with them that just as our flashlight saved us from the spider’s web, God’s Word saves us from Satan’s webs. It is because of Satan’s webs that so many different beliefs and doctrines abound about the Bible. Satan has done his best to confuse people’s understanding of the Bible: not so our understanding of doctrine will be confused, for Satan knows we are not saved by doctrine but by God’s love and grace. Satan has worked hard to corrupt our understanding of God’s love and grace for he knows that is where salvation comes from and he does not want us to be saved. We needn’t worry. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible is the Same Holy Spirit that will teach it to us, if we just ask.

Why understanding the Scriptures in the light of the cross is important: 

Many people ignore the Bible and many of those who do read it, read it only out of curiosity as a fairy tail book or some science fiction novel. The Bible is more than just prophecy or ancient stories. It is a love letter from God Himself. The Bible helps us develop a loving relationship with our God who showed us on the cross that He loves us more than He loves life itself. See John 20:31 and 2 Timothy 3:15.

 

For Further Studies on the Scriptures

What is the origin of the Bible?                                                                                              

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT

What does Jesus call God’s word?                                                                                             

Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  John 17:17 NLT

How much of the Bible is inspired?                                                                                     

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

Note: The Scriptures, and not family or church tradition tell us what is right or wrong.

What is the word of God to be to us?                                                                                       

Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:105 NLT

Note: God does not give us the Bible just to be a control freak or tyrant, anymore than the authors of a recipe book write in order to be control freaks or tyrants. The writers of the recipe know what it takes for their creation to turn out right, and God knows what it takes of our lives to turn out right.

What is the reason the Bible was written?                                                                              

But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.  John 20:31 NLT

How are we to study the Scriptures?                                                                                                             

He tells us everything over and over- one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!  Isaiah 28:10 NLT

Note: Our Bible beliefs or doctrines, come from comparing what the entire Bible says on the subject in order to get the big picture, instead of just getting our doctrine from one verse. For example, Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us the Spirit returns to God when we die, so many think that we go to heaven when we die. But if we take “a little here, and a little there,” we see in Job 27:3 that the spirit is simply our breath. So the big picture tells us our breath goes back to God, but nothing conscience returns to God till after the resurrection mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. There is more on this in the study about “Death in Light of the Cross.”

What do some do with God’s word?                                                                                     

speaking of these things in all of his [Paul] letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction2 Peter 3:16 NLT

What must we never do?                                                                                                         

 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,[a] 2 peter 1:20 NLT

Footnotes:

  1. 1:20 Or is a matter of one’s own interpretation.(Footnote Supplied from the New Living Translation.)

Note: We must let the Bible interpret itself and not make up our own interpretation.

Who will guide us in Bible Study?

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NLT

How often should we study the Bible?                                                                                 

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 NLT

Note: The people of Berea searched the Scriptures every day, and did not just take Paul and Silas’ word for everything, but looked to the Scriptures for their source of truth. Again, we follow family and church traditions only as far as they go along with Scripture. Is it your desire to order your life in harmony with the Scriptures instead of the traditions of man?